In what order do people read a comic panel?

  • Working on a certain panel in a book, and want to double check the order readers see it.

    So if a panel looks like this, do you read it as A-->B --C or A-->C -->B ?
    Thanks much!

    Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 3.58.39 PM.png

  • @idid I recall Scott McCloud mentions this problem is his Understanding Comics, which is a nice comics resource. However, his example doesn't answer your question directly (excerpt below). My personal graphic design instinct, in this case, sees the extra-wide gutter running vertically through the set as a meaningful separation. I'd also expect something big to happen at the end, rather than the middle of a sequence. So, without knowing the contents of the scene, I'd probably go against his rule and assume A-B-C.


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @idid if it was me, I would read A C B

  • Thank you! that's pretty helpful information!

    @Chip-Valecek interesting! Maybe I've got a potentially very confusing design and need to use panel that flow better. Thank you!

  • I'm also reading it A -> C -> B, probably because in English we read horizontally before vertically. If you're married to that order/position, you could try reducing the gutter size between A/B and increasing the gutter size next to C to see what effect that has.

  • I would personally read it A, B, C because B is still left of C but I don't read a lot of comics haha.
    Maybe you can just stack A and B on top of C to clear up any confusion? Depends on the composition of your images though

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